A fiery nebula and stellar nursery

Earthquake Lights

Three days after the incident with the Hur'q (and a day after mandatory rest for all involved), the Potemkin is still exploring near the Idran Terminus while waiting for the wormhole to open. They have found a unique ternary system, with two of its seven planets being M-class. The 'Tem came into orbit of the sixth planet, a gas giant with 17 satellites.

Beta shift was on duty, and the science department was slowly working on studying the system. Down in sickbay Arnet began to interview Ensign Aston, who had just recently joined the ship. Bom and Rollands, on the bridge, were discussing the relative slowness of Beta Shift, when one of the moons came out from the planet's shadows and sensors could detect artificial energy readings. Knowing that the only civilization, that of the system's second planet, was only to an Iron Age-level of development, Bom ordered the ship to investigate. Sensors were then able to verify that it was a shuttle or transport of some sort, but it started to move off as the 'Tem approached.

The 'Tem broke orbit to follow the shuttle, which appeared to head toward the inhabited second planet. Rollands was able to determine the ship was, in fact, Ferengi. Bom hailed and was greeted by an older, well-dressed, albeit bit disheveled Ferengi named Brant. He demanded to know why the Potemkin was following him, and Bom explained that they were concerned over his route toward a pre-industrialized society. Brant told him that he had business and quoted several Rules of Acquisition why he and his culture did not follow something like the Prime Directive.

Bom tried to talk him out of it, but the Ferengi would not listen, but he did fire off a couple of subspace bursts toward a distant star. Finally Bom convinced him that maybe trading with the 'Tem would be profitable and Brant replied that he had something that might interest Starfleet and wanted to meet face-to-face. Bom agreed, but stalled a bit to investigate the subspace burst more. Rollands confirmed they were being sent to a point about 10,000 light-years away, and were encrypted. Ensign MetallicA agreed to take a whack at cracking the encryption to find out what a Ferengi was possibly sending to the edge of the Delta Quadrant.

Down in sickbay Arnet put Aston through the ropes, having him treat the first person who came through the door, an engineer named Cuttler. Aston passed with flying colors, fixing Cuttler's broken arm and dislocated shoulder. Up on the bridge Bom contacted Brant again and was introduced to Brant's brother, Pelk. The two agreed to talk, but asked that they could land their shuttle into the 'Tem's bay. Bom was distrustful and muted the channel. At that moment an encrypted subspace burst came in, but this time from the point 10,000 light-years away. MetallicA was able to decipher the burst, which read "Tell us more of this Dominion." and was signed "Irrik, Alpha of the Hirogen."

Deciding to risk it and see what the Ferengi were up to, Bom allowed them to come aboard, but dispatched disguised security officers to be around them and for Rollands to bring them up to the observation lounge. The two Ferengi and their ship, the Gleaming Latinum, were soon aboard and heading to meet with Bom. It became apparent that Pelk was the assertive one, but Brant was trying to be his own negotiator as well. The two were greeted by the commander and taken into the Observation Lounge. They were given food and Bom tried some small talk to get them to open up. Pelk was more than willing to get straight to business, and Brant implied that it was very profitable information they had and many ex-Dominion worlds would pay heavily for it.

MetallicA, who had been working on the encrypted messages, sent what he had found to Bom's PADD. The message seemed to be about a stable wormhole in the Delta Quadrant, and also mentioned the Orion arm of the galaxy - near Federation space. Bom confronted the two about this and Brant confirmed that there was a new wormhole and they had heard about it through a merchant who dealt with others from the Delat Quadrant. Pelk told his brother to keep silent, but not before Brant let slip they were selling this information to interested parties. Pelk then took charge, saying that it was their business and they had many contacts - including with the "Ardrati", the people pre-industrial people of the system.

Bom, thinking quickly, made them a deal. They would leave the Ardrati alone and not contaminate their culture - or Bom would broadcast this proprietary information to everyone in three quadrants and ruin the Ferengi's chance at profit. Infuriated, but have no choice, Pelk agreed and he and Brant stormed off the ship in a huff. Bom and Rollands returned back to the tedium of Beta Shift, but knowing they just acquired some valuable information for free.

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